Saturday, October 30, 2004

Heartbreak Hotel

So yeah. It's over. Two years, officially, 100%, completely and totally, absolutely, finito, done. Ouch, you know? Talk about stinging.

We had matching computers, matching cars, matching lives. Or so I thought.

I went out self-medicating last night, and stumbled in last night courtesy of my taxi Kevin sometime after 2.

I always have lucid dreams, always. And I always remember them. This morning when I woke up, the first thing I thought was, "That motherfucker." I was seething with anger and hate, it was radiating through my pores (somewhat like the alcohol was). And I was angry because of my dream.

I dreamed that my beloved had found another woman and that was the real reason he was leaving behind like yesterday's newspaper. This woman, she was very short and asian, also kept a blog and I had read it. She purposefully went after him, ruthlessly, knowing that he had a girlfriend. I got so mad I ripped some photos up and stomped around his apartment throwing shit.

So I woke up angry at him and this unknown woman (perhaps a metaphor for med school or Arizona?). I hate waking up angry after hateful dreams.

But maybe anger is better than pure sadness.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Degrees of Lactation

I'm taking a class that centers on maternal and child health; we've started the course with reproductive health and moved through pregnancy, postpartum, neonatal, infant and children's issues.

Yesterday, we had the breastfeeding lecture. Iman always uses power point (can anyone just lecture anymore???) and the first slide was a woman's naked breast, full frontal. It was sort of shocking, even for me who gripes about the breast being oversexualized in American society (did you know the number one reason given for not breastfeeding is "My partner won't like it"? Makes me so angry--grow the fuck up, men!). The next slide was a side view, where someone had drawn on the breast with a sharpie showing where the milk ducts, etc. are inside the breast.

So the lecture proceeded, mostly about the mechanics and social aspects of breastfeeding. We talked about positions, benefits and policy. Many of the women in the room have had children, so there was a lot of...sharing. For example, I know now that if you have cracked nipples, the best thing to do is rub breastmilk into them.

When I left the class, I wanted a baby. Really wanted a baby. Seeing those pictures of tiny babies rooting around for breastmilk stirred something inside me. My breasts suddenly seemed so...useless. They are just sexual objects right now. The thought of holding a soft baby against my skin, doing something as natural as breastfeeding suddenly because very appealing. I know I'm definitely not ready for baby (definitely not), but for the first time, the thought of a baby didn't send panic shivers down my spine...has the ticking begun? Or is the prospect of having a baby just more appealing than finishing graduate school?

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Bend and Not Break

I'm self-medicating loneliness with shopping. I've never thought of myself as a real shopaholic. I mean, I've always been able to go into a store and not buy things, but it seems that when my beloved walked out on me, so did my ability to deny myself material goods.

Good thing my credit card limit was raised.

My new obsession is music. I realized I'm completely out of touch with the music scene and as part of my new improved lonely self, I'm trying to break out of my usual Top 40 radio stations. Enough Jessica Simpson and Matchbox 20. I'm going for edgy, moody and totally depressed (pass me the black eyeliner).

So I've been spending money like water the last few days, but I promise I'm stopping soon. I gotten five new indie CDs and three books, one blazer, a new bra, three pairs of panties, plus the digital camera of last weekend (I really need to figure out how to work it).

So far, the one CD I've listened to is good (just moody enough). The blazer looks really nice, but I'm not sure if I'll keep it (perhaps too uptight?). The panties are mesh (colorful tush). The bra is padded (Very Sexy from VS). The books are in the mail (like I have time to read?). The digital camera was very useful last night during our first intermural soccer game--we played Hillel (how f---ing appropriate?) and kicked their asses.

Breaking out of a mold is never easy, so right now, I'm just bending a little, hoping I won't snap.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Rings and Things

On Saturday, after a profitable trip to Walmart where I purchased a digital camera (YAY! Now I can have more photos of my cats!), I drove by a tattoo parlor next to Tucson Furniture, where I had purchased my desk, mattress and table with such hope and promise. I pulled in the parking lot and turned the engine off. Waited a beat. Went inside. And pierced my nose.

I don't know what came over me, a moment of temporary craziness or frustration.

But as the needle went through my nostril, the pain was so acute, it took just a little of the heartache away. I'm sure it's a means of coping, or some such pyschobabblebullshit. But feeling physical pain, instead of just internal hurt, made me feel stronger, more in control. It hurts being left behind, being told that the future I had thought so certain may not be so.

I know a nose ring won't solve my problems, won't make my life right again, but as I feel the hole in my nose healing, I feel the hole in my heart starting to close, just a little. Just a little.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Conversations with Bacardi

Last night, I realized that I'm making real friends. Tasha and Anneke have been amazing to me. Calling every few hours to make sure that I'm okay, making me go out with them instead of lying in bed listening to the Bridget Jones's Diary soundtrack on repeat ("Alllllllll by myselllllllllllllf...Don't want to beeeeee.....Alllllllll by mysellllllllllllllf.........Anymoooooooooooooore").

Last night, Anneke called and made me come over to bake cookies and watch movies. She surprised Tasha and me with a bottle of Bacardi and frozen drink mix (mmm). We never got to the movie watching segment of the evening ("Girl Next Door" and "Saved"), but instead ended up talking the whole night. It was wonderful. And I realized, as I watched them busy around the kitchen, that we are becoming real friends, girlfriends. It was a great feeling, watching a common friendship morphing into a deeper one.

And the main topic of coversation was....Halloween costumes!

We've decided that we're all going to go as Wizard of OZ characters. Anneke's going as a munchkin (she's short), Tasha as Glenda (she's cute), and I'm the Wicked Witch of the West (I'm evil?). I'm so excited. I've never gotten truly dressed up for Halloween before. I've done the "ho" stuff--but the most I've ever bought was a fur-lined coat and a red cowboy hat to be a pimp. This is like REAL thing! I've even convinced my friend Andrew to be my evil flying monkey!

And the irony that as a child I was not allowed to watch OZ because of the witch AND not allowed to trick-or-treat (Satan's holiday), and that my first costume for Halloween is the witch from OZ does not escape me. Ahh, yes, Mummy and Daddy. How far we stray....

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Sorry, Not A Winner

You know how some days just aren't your day? Or week? Or month? Or f---ing year?

Today, my friend Meigan opened a Snickers bar during class and proceeded to devour it in seconds (so much for public health). She had opened the wrapper all the way and on the inside of the plastic, were printed the words: "Sorry, Not A Winner." She looked at me, pushed the wrapper across the table and mouthed the words, "Sounds like you."

I've gotta get myself some new friends....

Monday, October 18, 2004

Above Perspectives

This morning, while the Phoenix-bound plane roared above the sizzling heatwaves and the kids next to my seat bickered, I started idly out the window to the desert landscape below. One color dominated the ground--brown. Brown craggy hills arched against brown valleys. Even the sky seemed tinged with a gray-brown. After the green of Virginia (did you know that chlorophyll has a smell?? I didn't!--or rather, I took the smell of fertility for granted), the shades of brown welcomed me home.

As we approached Phoenix, everything suddenly got green. And water ponds, lakes, rivers and pools suddenly dotted the brown. It was so weird. These bright blue-green channels of water snaking their way through the desolate wasteland of Arizona. Makes me wonder how many gallons of water are being wasted in the name of lawn grass, while out of guilt, I'm not flushing my toilet until absolutely necessary (When it's yellow, let it mellow; when it's brown, flush it down!)

So yes, the weekend was good. The salty air and spicy pines of the East Coast revived my senses and put me back into a sort of perspective. I have made a real life for myself here in the desert. I have friends who call to see if I want to watch TV tonight. I have cats that wait by the door for me to come home and feed them. I have a mail box that is full and a refrigerator that is empty. Slowly but surely, I am existing farther and farther away from the ocean and the green. The brown is beginning to seem more and more like home, even from a distance.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

More Moore

Last night, Michael Moore came to U of A at the McKale Stadium. The stadium was completely full, much like a night during basketball season. Approximately 15,000 people from the University and the community came.

Of course there were the die-hard Bush supporters, out protesting as you walked up to McKale. It was actually rather like walking the gauntlet, with people on either side of you screaming "Four More Years" and waving posters in your face; like by shouting at me, I was suddenly going to think, "Oh my god, they're SO right! Bush DOES deserve 4 more years!" Right.

Moore was hysterical. He definitely did some ragging on the few Bush supporters that continually (and rudely) interrupted his speech. (I'm all for free speech, but for crying out loud people, y'alls right to free speech doesn't give you the right to impede my right to hear! Have some fucking manners. Seriously.) Moore also did some imitations of Bush during the first debate, like when he suddenly said in the middle of speaking, "Let me finish" even when no one had interrupted.

But I think, most importantly, he had a lot to say on the state of our nation. He reiterated domestic issues at home (No Child Left Behind funding, lack of healthcare), most of which get shoved aside in the "threat" of terror. He reminded that creating a society where everyone benefits, even the most wealthy benefit, too. A happier society is a safer society. He read a letter from a US soldier in Iraq (during which, the incredibly rude Bush supporters wouldn't stop yelling and had to be escorted away by the police), which was very touching.

But most importantly, he reached out to the younger voters, the ones that campaign officials often forget. He reminded us that our jobs, education loans, healthcare will depend on the outcome of this election, so get off our asses and go vote. And he's right.

So once again, I walked away from a political conversation wondering how anyone could listen to the domestic problems our country has and actually believe that Bush is worth re-electing. My Bush-voting friends (what few I have--if any!), really educate yourselves about the true issues in this election, not just the rhetoric that swirls around "terrorism." If you can look at the state of our military (slashed pay and benefits in the middle of a war), our schools (mandated NCLB, but no $), the 45 million without healthcare, the loss of jobs, the environment, assualt weapons ban and still in good conscience vote for Bush, I'd be surprised.

My argument isn't Republican vs Democrat. There have been bad Democrats in office, just like there is a bad Republican in office. Just because he's in your party doesn't mean the policies that he's creating are good for the country. Maybe for once, we could look beyond the party labels and make decisions based on what's really good for America.

Monday, October 11, 2004

The Little (Big) Things

It's so amazing how just the tiniest thing in the form of an email can just turn my day around. Last night, after a very interesting and rather passionate phone call with my beloved (passionate not about sex but about...neonatalogy...such is life when your relationship is comprised of med student and PH student), I went to bed. Around 3:00 am, I awoke to Zola mewing outside my door and when I opened it to see what she wanted, she ran into my bedroom and a cat fight broke out. I never truly went back to sleep, so 5:00 rolled around too quickly.

I got to work late, finding my client already awake and waiting for me to make his eggs for breakfast (which I burned) and make his coffee (which I spilled). During his bath, I managed to get soap in his eyes and almost cried I felt so bad.

I finally got home, fed the beasts, and went back to bed and turned my alarm off and slept until almost noon--way past the 10:00 when I was suppose to wake up. And since then, I've been working on a midterm which, at first glance seems innocently easy, but I've been nattering on and on for pages about low birth weight babies, prenatal care and socioeconomic status, and STILL haven't answered the first question.

So yeah, I'm stressed out. But then, I got this email. It just showed up in my box with no warning, looking deceptively normal. I opened it and reading what it had to say just made my whole day do a Kerry and flip-flop around (Don't forget to vote Kerry!). It was from the secretary of the dean of the College of Public Health, awarding me $500 for national conference expenses! The maximum amount! And I suddenly knew that somehow, if I can get $500 from my tightfisted university to attend a conference on Public Health and the Environment, then I know that everything in my life will equalize somehow and things will be okay.

Now, the warring tribes are both asleep on my bed, my assignment is looking closer to completion and I have a smile on my face.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Mystery of the Missing Poo

I just got a new cat on Monday. Turtle Dog (Cat #1) had been acting out over the last few weeks, dashing around the apartment, opening cabinets, ripping apart sponges and generally causing havoc around the apartment. I deduced that she must be lonely and headed over to the Pima County Animal Shelter to find Turtle Dog a friend.

I was hoping for a kitten, but after walking in and seeing all the adult cats who still didn't have homes, I fell in love with this diluted gray and cream torti. She'd been in the shelter since June 2004 and look so depressed and sad. She looked up at me as I walked past her cage and she gave me a plaintive "mew." I started crying.

So, Monday, New Cat came home in a little cardboard carrier. Turtle was not pleased. The hissing and growling began before New Cat was even released out of the box. Now, I wasn't expecting instant and immediate friendship, but I was not expecting the level of hostility and hatred. The hissing, the chasing, the growling, the narrowed eyes, the laid-back ears.

I had to make a new litter box to keep them separate (one in the bedroom, one in the bathroom). Separate rooms, separate food dishes, separate toys. Things have slowly been getting better over the week, but it's been stressful having to keep an eye on two warring cats when I'm already dealing with so much in my life right now. But thankfully, I think Turtle has accepted that her turf has been invaded and New Cat (now named Zola, short for Gorganzola cheese) is becoming less aggressive and evil.

I even got rid of the second litter box. I've decided that they'll be fine in the same room when I'm gone now, so there is no longer a need for a second litter box; I got rid of the box in my room.

But here's the kicker. It still smells like poo in my bedroom. I can't seem to find the source of the stench. I've gotten on my hands and knees, crawled around looking under books, through papers, along the wall. Nothing. Not a turd to be found. I don't know what to do. There's only so long I can smell shit while trying to complete my homework and midterms. It's starting to affect my brain. Would my professor take inability to concentrate due to poo as an excuse for not finishing my Maternal and Child Health?

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Guiding my Diet

So, I finally finished my 20 page paper, after a long agonizing week. I did nothing else. Well, that's not entirely true. I did a lot of procrastinating and messing around, but I refused to allow myself to work on any other homework besides my paper. Wouldn't want to distract myself.

Now, it's on to another assignment. Grad school supplies a never-ending flood of assignment, all longer and more pointless than before. This one deals with the new dietary guidelines that will be put out in 2005. The guidelines say stuff like, "Control calorie intake to manage body weight" and "Choose fats wisely for good health."

However, there's been a bit of an outrage across various food associations (ex: National Dairy Council, etc) because they don't have a good spot on the new food pyramid. The National Soft Drink Industry just released a statement about the "scientific inaccuracies of the new dietary guidelines and added sugars." Basically, the 2005 guidelines says limit your intake of added sugars--sodas, for example. Well, the National Soft Drink Association (or whatever) is arguing that there is no REAL scientific evidence that added sugar is soft drinks is bad for your health OR causes added intake of empty calories. And god forbid people actual limit their intake of Coke! The dairy industry is upset because the guidelines mentions lactose intolerance. The dairy people argue that that teensy medical problem shouldn't stop you from eating dairy! No matter if your stomach hurts! Ah the politics of it.

Uh-oh. I hear my kitchen cabinets banging. My cat has learned how to open all my cabinets and likes to pull things out and make a mess...and get stuck inside. Must go rescue.